Of every glove that laid him down

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I could almost make this a wordless Wednesday post. But I suspect it requires a little explanation. The Brother is trying a case up in Ukiah. Loki has been at puppy prison camp. He can’t get back in time to pick Loki up, so I get him up from the kennel and The Brother comes here and gets him. Loki and Bubba don’t get along so I have to do the dog shuffle while they’re here. I want to beat the crap out of both of them for behaving like that, but they’re male Dobermans and that’s what they do. So I do the shuffle. Yesterday Bubba crashed the door and got to Loki. I was sure we were heading to the vet, but I grabbed Loki’s collar and got him crated before anything happened. From then on, one was crated, one was not. Buttheads.

Loki and Rita were in my office when I took the top two pictures. I don’t keep my groceries in my office, that’s a recycling bag.

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The Brother showed up and got Loki last night. He was going to his car to put up Loki so he could spend a moment with Bubba who was in his crate. I walked into the living room and noticed a piece of shmutz on the carpet. I reached down to pick it up at the exact moment that Rita decided to leap up on the couch. I have never had my bell rung so badly by a dog before. She crumpled me. The Brother came back inside and I was sitting on the end of the couch, by then tears were running from the pain. He looks at me and I tell him Rita rang my bell. He usually ignores most of my bullshit, but this time he’s paying attention. He says “I can see that thing growing from here, you’d better put some ice on it.” The first picture is last night after ice. The second is this morning. It’s trying to swell closed this morning. It’s sure been a lot of years since I’ve had a black eye. They still suck.

Give me 40 acres and I’ll turn this rig around

Everybody knows, I don’t have bad days. I think you chose your mood. And I chose to always been in a good mood. Or at least I try. I am very rarely “in a mood”. Even when I have days that just beat me down, I’m generally pretty resilient. Friday was not one of those days. Friday I was the bug.

I’d been working this guy since July. Actually, I’d been working his brother-in-law because he lives in Europe. In August we wrote on a property. It was on the market at $1.1 million. He insisted on writing at $900k. I got him up to $950k. The property went for $1.2 million. He had this idea in his head that people in this area just wanted to give their property away because there were no buyers or something and that he ruled the world because he had some cash. I don’t even know what. Rarely do I lose out by $250k. Two weeks ago I got him into contract on another property. He bid $39k under asking and getting him up to the next $24k was like pulling teeth. And at every turn he was wanting to renegotiate down. It was exhausting. We were going to negotiate down, but I needed to get some reports in first so I could handle it in a certain manner to assure I got maximum results with minimal push back. We’d put in an appraisal contingency on a cash deal and the thing didn’t appraise. There was also some work to be done. I wanted to get the work done and then say “Oh, just one more thing, it didn’t appraise”.

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By then, we’d be three weeks in and we’d have the upper hand. I like to call my sales technique the “Columbo technique”. I spend a lot of time saying “Just one more thing….” Anywho, one of the reports suggested that there might be an asbestos issue in the ducts. Since The Brother used to be an asbestos litigator, I don’t worry about asbestos because I know I get the best advice. We needed to order another test to determine if it really was asbestos and if it was, did it get into the ducting system and ultimately the house. As a generalization, even when the duct work falls apart, the testing will turn up barely registrable levels, but the testing needs to be done. As I said throughout this deal, it could be something or it could be nothing. This guy just went nuts and cancelled the transaction with no testing. He didn’t want his soon to be born child living in a house with asbestos. Dude, I promise you, if your place was built prior to 1980, it’s too late. As a matter of fact, most property in Contra Costa County has it in it. The Brother’s house has it in it. Don’t disturb it and it’s fine. Disturb with care, but if it’s not disturbed it’s not an issue. But more than that it was this guy’s approach. Basically once I got him into contract he started grinding everybody’s eyeballs down to powder. By the time he pulled out, I was beyond through with him. He cancelled and I fired him. It was my first escrow to fall out. I don’t lose deals. I knew eventually I would, but it’s still soul crushing. So Friday sucked, majorly.

I knocked off around 3pm on Friday, went and got a sixer of some hand crafted brew and a bag of Fritos. Yeah, it was that bad. I got a call from the office that a buyer couldn’t get into their property. They weren’t my buyer. They were someone else’s buyers and they lied to me. I had to leave my hand crafted brew and my corn chips and go let these nitwits into their property, a job their agent should have been doing. To say I was abusive towards them would be kind. You know how liars will never stop talking? Yeah, I told them to shut up. That sent them to the moon so I told them “Fine, you’re on your own” and started to leave. Then all of the sudden they shut up and listened to what I was saying. In the end they were lying to me. They said we gave them a key that didn’t work but when I got the property open (with the help of a locksmith) there was their personal property inside. They’d already been inside and wanted us to fix their problem. I’m glad I yelled at them. Liars deserve that.

I woke up yesterday morning knowing I had to turn this rig around and quickly. Lucky for me, I’d received an invitation to come up to the offices of Hahn Family Wines in Napa for an event. The event was a Twitter Taste Live. I don’t know who’s original brainchild the Twitter Taste Lives are, but they’re kind of geeky and kind of fun. Essentially, anyone can participate. There is a preset selection of wine that is tasted. The progression is preset. Tasters tweet their notes on Twitter. Generally they gather and have pairings along with the wine. Did I mention that I was lucky enough to be invited up to Hahn Family Wines for the event? Because last night’s tasting was a sampling of their wines. Philip Woodrow, who works for them put together an amazing spread. The man’s got mad skillz.

They opened with the Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay. This little sweetheart comes in at $10 a bottle. It is a stupid price for a very interesting wine. It’s creamy with a bit of vanilla and tropical fruit tones. Philip paired it with a Smoked Trout Brandade. Did I mention the man has mad skillz? The Smoked Trout was best of show in a crowded field of amazing recipes. It paired beautifully with the Chardonnay and I could have merrily stopped right there and spent the evening polishing off the Smoked Trout and Chardonnay. But there was more wine to taste. And more food to enjoy. The next offering was Hahn Estates Pinot Noir. Paul Clifton, the winemaker, who we have discussed very favorably on PBE in the past is a Pinot god. He was also on and participating from Monterey County. That’s how cool these things can be. This pinot was perfect in my book. Nice smoke, bright cherries, spice and a gentle finish. Philip paired it with prawns wrapped in prosciutto. The pinot was very happy paired with it. I didn’t really want to move on to the next wine because the pinot was so good, but move on we did. OK, I was the last person in the room to finish my pinot. The Smith & Hook Cab was next. It was paired with a tri-tip with a reduction of the same wine. Of all the wine, this was my least favorite. It was good, but it’s a Central Coast Cab and to me it’s like making crabcakes out of imitation crab. Except Paul’s a better winemaker so it comes out a lot better than it should. It was jammy, which isn’t the first thing I look for in a cab and tight on the finish. OK tannic. I know that’s the right word. There was some mocha hints in the mid palate. It was very good with the tri tip and really, with a $24 price point, you can’t go wrong with this one. Next up was the Petite Sirah. Philip’s wife, Reynolds was in the kitchen toasting marshmallows with a blow torch. Ok a kitchen torch, blow torch sounds like more fun. They had these cookies (which I’m sure everyone but me knows what they are) that were like Pepperidge Farm Chessman but had a thick layer of milk chocolate on them. Actually, I think they’re from Belgium.

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I’m sure somebody knows what they are. Anyway, they paired the Huntington Petite Sirah with s’mores. The hit of the night. That Petite Syrah was wild. Full of chocolate, blueberry and vanilla. Deep, dark and inky. A perfect pairing. That wine plays out like a lot more than a $14 price point. I would pair it with Cuban food without blinking an eye. It had it all going on. I put that thought out there in the twitterverse and another guy concurred. That’s the fun of these things. If I had room, I’d get a case of that Petite Sirah. Philip didn’t stop there, for those of us who were at the offices, he pulled out a Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah to finish off the evening. This wine had a lot of similar qualities to the Huntington, except it was more elegant. If the Huntington was like a vibrant party, the Hahn was like a white table cloth dinner. Chocolate, spice, dark fruit but add some excellent mouthfeel and this one was a great wine to end the evening on. But Philip didn’t stop there. As things were breaking up I stopped to thank him and Reynolds and the Hahn crew for a great evening and he insisted on making me a cuppa Joe for the road from their very cool coffee machine. A most excellent cuppa Joe.

Thanks to Philip and the folks at Hahn for helping me turn this rig around.

High-heel shoes and an alligator hat

I don’t think that it’s too much to ask that our Presidents appear Presidential.  That’s just another thing I hate about the Bush family.  Bush I and Bush II.  Neither appeared Presidential.  Bush I was slightly better at it, but blowing chow on the Japanese Prime Minister kind of lacks the sort of Presidentiality that I’m looking for, and expecting from the Executive Officer of this nation.  I understand waking up from a dead sleep and having to blow.  Sometimes you don’t make it where you need to in time.  But unless you’re 4 years old, most people can figure out that it’s time to leave the State Dinner before going all Linda Blair on the hosting dignitary.  Not Bush.  And his son, from the point of view of decorum was a complete embarrassment, never mind his “policies”.  Even when he was at funerals he appeared like an 8th grader that had been dragged into the church.  You’d think a guy who supposedly based all of his policies on his faith would appear a little more comfortable in the house of God.  Not Bush.  Clinton had it going until Little Billy ran into the devil in the blue dress and that was the end of that.  Reagan could for the most part fake it, he was after all an actor.  I never liked the folksy bullshit act he ran, but at least it didn’t detract from the office.  With the noted exception of the “we commence bombing of Russian in 15 minutes” gaffe.  Nixon and Johnson spent a lot of time bumbling.  Kennedy appeared Presidential. 

Last night our President had to address a terrible act of violence that occured on the Army base in Fort Hood.  He handled it with honor, decorum and let us know that he too was horrified.  He’s stumbled a little in the past, although we all thought Kanye was a jackass, but for the most part, he appears Presidential.  And I like that.  I want a President that makes me proud, whether I agree with him or not.  President Obama does that.

So when I see a poll that says if Rush Limbaugh ran for President today would you vote for him, I resist the temptation to vomit on a visiting dignitary.  Although it does make me wake in fear in the middle of the night and run for the porcelain god.

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Just look at them and sigh

One of the things Schwartzenegger likes to say is “Let the people decide”. Arnie, for the most part I like you and think you’ve done an okay job, but you’re wrong on this one. Sometimes the people are idiots. Ok, more often than not, the people are idiots. My precinct has approximately 4000 constituents. As of 7:30 last night when I finally got down there, I was voter 375. Yep. 375. There was no line when I got there. As a left there were probably 6 or 7 people standing around waiting to get checked in. Point is, maybe they got to 400 last night. Maybe 1 in 10 actually voted yesterday. Get the people riled up about something and the turn out is higher. Can you imagine if in 1968 Civil Rights was a referendum rather than a Congressional Act signed in to law by President Johnson? What if that one came back to a vote?

That’s why we have the three branches of Government. Checks and balances. Judges are supposed to be activist, on behalf of the people. If the people are too stupid, judges step in and make it right. The legislation steps in and makes it right. Or the Executive Branch steps in and makes it right. Note that a voter referendum isn’t in there. Here we are 31 years later and there is a faction in this country that is still too stupid to understand that we are all equal. Regardless of skin color, heritage, gender, or the number or toes on their left foot. So Maine, you got it wrong. Just like California let the Catholic church and the Mormans dictate public policy, you fell for the same ruse. Shame on all of you.

Several of my friends have recently had grandchildren. I see these little creatures and think “No one has screwed these kids up yet. They will. Right now, these little babies don’t know that there is a difference in skin color and that matters to some people. They don’t know that their parents are well off or dirt poor. They don’t know that it’s not okay in 45 states to love who they want. They don’t know that their father is unemployed laborer. Good thing we’re all here to teach them.

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Feelin’ pretty good and that’s the truth

I must have been fighting off something because I felt like crap all week last week and this morning I’m back to my normal obnoxious self.  I know, you’re thrilled.  How about a grab bag this morning?

H1N1.  I think I’ve gotten one flu shot in my life.  For the most part my immune system fights off most vermin. (see previous paragraph).  There’s lots of bullshit out there about the vaccine.  I’m not so sure that Jenny McCarthy might not be right.  Any new vaccine makes me a little suspect.  The manufacturing process seems to be straight forward enough.  And at the end of the day, I can’t afford to get my ass kicked by a bug like that.  I didn’t used to be around children as much as I am now.  (I know that terrifies some of you)  And I’m in more crowded situations than I used to be, although I don’t ride BARF any more.  I watched the 60 minutes bit on it last night and even they couldn’t put a bad spin on it.  On the other hand, I’ve got a pretty good immune system.  I’m bumping up certain vitamins and being eternally vigilant, maybe that’s enough.  Tough call.  If I were the one in a million who ended up hospitalized with the virus, I could lose the house.  If I were the one in a million that had a bad reaction to the shot, I could lose the house.    I really wish they weren’t using the word “pandemic”.

Yesterday I drove transport for two Dobermans that were heading to rescue.  Casey from Penninsula Humane and Kaiser who was a craigslist pull. 

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This is Casey, Mr. Cropnflop.  I didn’t get a picture of Kaiser because he was sleeping in the back seat of the truck.  Actually their names should have been swapped.  Casey was more of a Kaiser and Kaiser was more of a Casey.  Everyone was shocked that I took two rescues, tied them down and drove without crates.  The trick was that I established myself as the Alpha Bitch from the moment those boys met me.  Kaiser is a red floppy earred puppy really.  He’s still got puppy fur and no brain.  Casey has a bit more brain, he’s well trained and just laid his head on my chest and away we went.  I miss having a black and tan.  No, I’m not getting another male Doberman.  But they were really nice dogs.  I know Dana will find them really nice homes.

I started building the deck.  Then I realized that I got something backwards last night.  I’ll have to tear some of it back apart, which is annoying, but if it’s going to be right, I have to tear it back down.  Photojournalism to come on that project.